Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thanks, but no thanks!

As readers here at The Sanctuary know, I don't give advice.
I ask questions.
If pushed to a wall, I give suggestions :-)

Caelaeno asked me how to politely turn down a guy, here.

I gave a suggestion.
She was gracious enough to reply that she found it helpful.
Which is nice, Caelaeno. Thank you.
But I can't help but feel that there are others here far better qualified to answer this question than I.

My review of 'Firelight'  (thanks again Danny!) yielded two examples of rejection on the romantic front.

What's so brilliant about this is that we get a woman rejecting a man (Elisabeth rejecting Mr. Taylor) and a man rejecting a woman (Charles rejecting Connie).

I thought to myself:
Why don't we look at this again?

And this time with both genders in mind, as rejectors and the rejected.

I have harped on enough in the past that it is entirely expected that a woman rejects several men before she picks one (for life hopefully).

I always thought that there must be far more women rejecting men than men rejecting women.

I think this is intrinsically true, but there is a shift in proceedings, of course, with the result that we now have a situation where for probably the first time in history, masses of women are deemed rejectable.
This is sad in many ways.
It used to be that men did most or all the pursuing (with women doing some subtle 'hinting', of course!) and women selected.

But with a change in rule-book and different dynamics at play from my grandma's hey-day, women are being required more and more in today's SMP to do some active and sometimes amazingly aggressive pursuing of their own, at the beginning of a relationship.
Often with disastrous results.

But this is off-topic. I shan't dwell on this for now.

How does one say politely, 'Thanks, but no thanks!'?

Does it depend on your own gender?
Does it depend on the gender of the person you are rejecting?
Does it depend on the timing of the relationship?
Does it depend on the reason for the rejection?
Does it depend on your own life circumstances?
Does it depend on how you perceive the other person, in general?

I suspect the answer to all of the above questions is a resounding 'yes'.

But to what degree in each case?

I always think that consideration for the other person is key, whatever the motive or the outcome of the rejection.
But this is often hard to achieve, given that a rejection is often painful, stuffed full of emotion, and unpleasant for all concerned.

Often, it is indeed the rejector who feels worse than the rejected. Even if it may look like it's the other way round.

Is there such a thing as a mutual rejection?
Or is this the preserve of Hollywood couples parting ways, in an attempt to pull one over the rest of us?
Is there such a thing as a 'nice' rejection?
Or is this a face-saving device invented by the rejected?

Some people are far too brusque in their 'rejection technique'.
Others are far too 'gentle' and ineffective, thereby needlessly prolonging the agony.
Others use one standard method for everybody, regardless of the situation.
Others use a 'variation on a theme' strategy.
Some people have never rejected someone.
Some people are lifelong rejectors.
Some people never recover from a rejection that happened in 1976.
Others are expecting to be rejected and come prepared.
Some people love the challenge of rejection and seek to breakdown the 'resistance'.
Others run a mile from impending rejection because they know they can't take the pain.

Incidentally, this scene from 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' also provides a good example of a well-executed rejection. Except it wasn't really a rejection in this case. All that smiling and coy behaviour is the clue :-)
So whilst I wouldn't recommend this for Caelaeno who was asking about 'serious' rejections, it is worth comparing this with Elisabeth Laurier's rejection of Mr. Taylor.
The first 30 seconds...

Now for my thoughts on the specific cases of rejection from 'Firelight'.

I should let drop now that my thoughts on these two cases are not restricted to the scenes of rejection alone.
Far from it!
Because I feel the context around these two rejections are indeed relevant, as you will see below:

Beginning with Elisabeth and Mr. Taylor...(hahaha, why does this make me laugh? She could have ended up as 'Elisabeth Taylor' had she not rejected him :-)

It has to be said that Mr. Taylor was near-perfection as far as a worthy man was concerned. A hard worker, handsome, good character, great sense of humour (he was, for example not at all phased by the antics of Lord Clare, Charles' father) and had an eye for spotting worthy women.
Elisabeth is not just beautiful, she is also graceful. She moves like a dancer.

And yet, by the time he got to ask Elisabeth for her hand in marriage, he had already lost her.
For she was emotionally unavailable to him.

Unfortunately for Mr. Taylor, Charles had got there first.
Eight whole years before him.

Elisabeth fell in love with Charles before they left the island hotel where she conceived Louisa.
Not because she had sex with him, I don't think.
In fact, I personally think she had fallen in love with him (of sorts) long before she actually saw him.
When she first heard his voice.
But this is arguable and I shan't dwell on it.

When she gives up her baby and pines for her for 7 years, we (as the audience of the film) are not made aware that she is also pining for the man with whom she had conceived her baby, until the very last scene where she admits to this...

Elisabeth appears very much to be a 'cold fish'. But this is just the usual façade of introverts. She wasn't really 'cold' at all. And in fact she actually says she is not like this: When Charles asks her how she can remain so calm at one point, she truthfully replies that she is not calm.

Elisabeth reminds me of a duck on a pond.
On the surface it appears all serene, but underneath, no-one is seeing its feet paddling furiously away.
I might even venture as far as to apply Myers-Briggs to Elisabeth.
I can unequivocally say she is INT...
Can't make up my mind whether she is a P or a J. Can any experts on Myers-Briggs help me out here?

Her background is also crucial and highly relevant. Elisabeth is a true loner. She appears to be an only child.
Motherless and with a father in prison, she is factually and effectively alone in the world.
It is therefore not surprising  to me that her one idea to raise money for her father's debts involves creating another human being, even if the plan is to give up said human being at birth.
In executing this plan, Elisabeth at least had company for nine months. For nine whole months in her lonely life, she had someone else to talk to, to relate with, to connect to.
Even if that peson was invisible and couldn't exactly participate in any conversation except to kick at frequent intervals :-)
In a fit of frustration during one of Louisa's tantrums, Elisabeth lets slip her own fears about her loneliness and her wish to prevent this life for Louisa when she grew up to become a woman.

Elisabeth's mistake when she was 22 was to believe that it would be easy to disengage from the emotional aspects of sex and motherhood.
Clearly, no-one had told her about a certain badass hormone called 'oxytocin' :-)
For a very mature woman, this is a somewhat surprising 'gap' in her level of insight.
But of course, Elisabeth soon learns...

Am I being unfair?
Elisabeth was motherless. Her father was unavailable. Detained at Her Majesty's pleasure, as we would say in Britain.
She would have had to 'raise' herself in many ways.
I say she did a pretty good job.
But there would have had to be a 'gap' somewhere.
Otherwise she wouldn't be human :-)

She fell in love with Charles because he was special, to her. Deep down, she could have terminated their encounters at any point, and she knew that. But she didn't. Because she had fallen for him.

When at the beach he asked her if she had enjoyed their encounter the previous night and she replied 'no', she quickly added that 'she could'. By this, I don't think Elisabeth was saying that she could force her body to respond to Charles. She was simply saying she knew it wouldn't be hard to enjoy any further encounters with Charles, because he was already someone she had begun to care about.
The 'no' was also perhaps just a normal woman's attempt to avoid giving the impression of 'sluttiness' especially in this situation where Elizabeth would probably have felt 'guilty' to have enjoyed her counter with Charles - it was afterall not supposed to be 'pleasure' - it was 'strictly business'.

And of course, when she says during their second encounter, 'I don't want to know your name, I don't want to know anything about you', you just know she really means, 'I do want to know your name, I want to know everything about you!'

Elisabeth's 'pattern' is that when she is feeling 'passionate' she wants to shout :-)
See? Not at all a 'cold fish' at all :-)

Something else which may not be apparent to everyone watching this film:
A little geography lesson of sorts.
Elisabeth was Swiss.
Switzerland is a small country with no access to the sea.
Sure, it has plenty of lakes - part of its charm.
But at each lake, you can see the bordering town or country: at Lake Léman you can see France. At Lake Konstanz you can see Germany. At Lake Maggiore you can see Italy.

The sea would have had a profound effect on Elisabeth.
The fact that you could see nothing beyond its farthest horizons would have been especially appealing to her as a Swiss woman.
To 'shout' where there is 'nothing' would have been truly liberating for her.
Another time she felt the need to 'shout', she went to the lake-house at Charles' home to do it.
This was the nearest thing she had to the sea.

Charles, on the other hand, I don't think was in love with Elisabeth per se when he left her on the boat.
Sure, he liked her an' all...but remember, at initial encounter, to a man, all women are the same.

Charles didn't fall in love with Elisabeth until 8 years later when she showed up at his house as the new governess to his daughter.
And even so, it wasn't until after Mr. Taylor had been rejected by Elisabeth that he got thinking about her...
But I dare say, there was the beginning of something even at their first encounter...
When he questions her about this rejection and presumes it is for Louisa's sake, does anyone really believe her (affirmative) answer?
I for one don't.
Didn't think you did either :-)
She was heavily under Charles' spell by this stage. Louisa was just an innocent bystander in this regard :-)

But when he did fall in love with her, the 'alpha-beta' chain was set in motion.

What do I mean?
The Tango dance. Alpha, beta, alpha, beta, in that order...
Incidentally from 00:30 to 02:20 in the above video is a brilliant display of Tango skills...
A woman falls in love with a man when he is at the 'alpha' stage. Confident/maybe a bit aloof/definitely dominant to her. Charles was all of these at their initial encounter - albeit not a 'normal' encounter by any means.

The man falls in love with the woman when he is at the 'beta' stage - a stage in which he pedestalises her a bit, and gets all vulnerable.
For Charles, this happened when he mentioned about 'firelight' the night after Mr. Taylor left for America.
From then on, everyone knew he was in love.
Certainly Molly, the girlfriend of his father noticed this.
And the rest as they say is history.
He did most of the 'chasing' in this story. But note that Elisabeth did it once too: at a time when it counted.

With the above in mind, what did Connie do wrong, then?

Connie's mistake was to be there for a man who had never gone 'beta' on her. For ten whole years, she had loved Charles. That's like a huge chunk of her childbearing years.
She was perhaps 5-10 years older than Elisabeth, so if Elisabeth was 22 when she met Charles and 23 when she had Louisa, and therefore 30 when she turned up again when Louisa was 7, that would make Connie about 35-40.
The way she talked incessantly about loving her sister Amy also suggests that she is Amy's older sister. Elder siblings talk like this and are all protective of their younger siblings and never the other way round.

 Connie and Elisabeth are both 'nice girls'.
But there is a subtle difference between them. One that Mr. Taylor spotted when he remarked (about Elisabeth): 'She's got pride in herself, doesn't back down'.

This is Connie:
Nice, nice, nice, kind, nice, nice, nice, smile, nice, nice, nice, compassionate, nice, nice, nice, smile, nice, Nice, NICE!!!

This is Elisabeth:
Nice, nice, nice, PASSION, nice, nice, nice, FIRE IN THE BELLY, nice, nice, nice, DESIRE, nice, nice, nice, PRIDE, nice, nice, nice.

See the difference?

Connie was too 'stiff upper lip British'.
Her passion, if she had any, was too deeply buried within her.
I strongly believe that she had every chance at her disposal to 'get' Charles before Elisabeth showed up.
Like ten whole years. She was frustratingly passive! Like Blanche Maxwell, this woman threw away an awful lot of opportunities. Not to say she should have been direct. But there is a way to be active while still being indirect...
She is effectively the proverbial passenger who lived by the seaport and still managed to miss the boat everyday for ten years.

Moreover, Connie was one of those women who needed 'competition' to get her own juices going. She needed the 'preselection' that Elisabeth provided.
Her last ditch attempt to show some passion for Charles by kissing his hand after he euthanases Amy (and by this stage it is clear to Connie that Charles loves Elisabeth) is not only somewhat pathetic, it is also way too late.

Connie is an example of what I described here.
A woman does not have to sleep with a man to be hooked on him.

Connie never got this far with Charles. Not to say she didn't hope for this.
But I imagine for her, there wouldn't be another man.
Charles had ruined her for other men.
She had wasted her whole life on a man who had never felt the same way about her.
A true tragedy.
On the other hand, I can also see the alternative point of view: that Connie was a sweet, kind woman who did everything right and still lost out. This is of course a very valid view.

Mr. Taylor, on the other hand would not have had this problem. For a start, for a man, 'there is always another woman' even when he has previously fallen in love with a woman.
As he correctly said to Elisabeth, 'one of these days, I might be doing this (proposing to a woman) again'.
I have no doubt that even on the ship en route to America, he would have found another woman to propose to.
The thing about 1838 is that, there were plenty more women like Elisabeth (i.e. marriageable women) around. The biggest complaint amongst men circa 2012 is that whilst there are millions of 'bangable' women out there, very few are marriageable.
I don't really know if this complaint is valid. But I shan't dwell on this.

Elisabeth's manner of rejecting Mr. Taylor is in my view, exemplary. Caelaeno, here's your answer.
She declines politely (actually, she doesn't decline - she acknowledges his compliment of her, and allows him to correctly deduce her refusal. After which she expresses regret. How classy is this!) And then she leaves.
She doesn't stay to commiserate with him.
A lot of women may feel it right to do this commiseration thing. Having previously done this myself, I now know it is wrong. Because to do this is to feel sorry for him in a way that wounds his masculinity.

Mr. Taylor begins what could be described as a self-depreciating speech when he starts to talk about a man getting his hopes up too high...but her icy stare soon sets him straight.
She helps him along by declaring that 'he is not too disappointed' (with her refusal of his proposal, that is).
I think this is very clever of her. She sets the 'frame' that he is to follow. Without making it too obvious, and certainly without taking anything away from his sense of masculinity.
And when he shows his vulnerability by asking if there was something he could 'fix' about himself before approaching another woman, she is both truthful and kind when she replies that any woman would be fortunate to be courted by him.
Sadly for Taylor, any woman but Elisabeth Laurier.

Elisabeth rejects Mr. Taylor: 6:08 to 7:50.

Connie's rejection was much more cringeworthy and brutal, although I don't see how gentler Charles could have made it.
Given that he had been effectively giving her this message for ten years...
Connie's problem was that she hadn't just been rejected on that fateful day.
She had never even been noticed by him in a romantic way. Ever.
She had been LJBF'ed for ten years.
But because her 'favours' had been gratefully accepted (none of these sexual, so there is a silver lining somewhat for Connie), she thought she was in a 'relationship'.

One persistent thought I had throughout my viewing of this film was...if Charles was so in need of a surrogate for his heir, why not Connie? He preferred to pay a strange woman a small fortune when Connie was available and would have most likely been willing.
Yes, the logistics would have been complicated, but it wouldn't have been difficult to arrange for her to 'disappear' for a while only to turn up with a baby (with an 'unknown' father)...and which Charles could have 'adopted'...
But no. Charles wasn't even up for this option.
Connie was just not in the frame at all...poor girl.

Charles rejects Connie: beginning to 1:37.
The extra painful part for Connie in her rejection scene is when Charles says to her, 'You know how much I loved her, don't you?' (referring to his dead wife, her sister). Not the best time for Connie to hear this.

Every woman needs to be a doctor of sorts.
For she needs to correctly diagnose when she loves a man, and when he loves her.

And she should know that a completely 'lukewarm' man is the male equivalent of a 'reluctant bride'.
There has to be something from him. (Not to say he ought to get his way of course :-)
In this regard, even an attempt to hold hands counts as something. But a clearer sign is better.
That's my 'suggestion' for the day.

I could go on all day. Um, in fact, I have!
Why don't we discuss?

Any interesting stories out there?
For Caelaeno?
For me?
For all of us to learn from?

Thank you kindly :-)


Anonymous said...


The Navy Corpsman

just visiting said...

Lol NC. But that's ok. Just girl talk on the subtler art of womanly management skills from a feminine point that gives a man a masculine frame in rejection.

You also bring up something that I would have felt compelled to bring up sooner or later.

You wrote

This is Connie:
Nice, nice, nice, kind, nice, nice, nice, smile, nice, nice, nice, compassionate, nice, nice, nice, smile, nice, Nice, NICE!!!

This is Elisabeth:
Nice, nice, nice, PASSION, nice, nice, nice, FIRE IN THE BELLY, nice, nice, nice, DESIRE, nice, nice, nice, PRIDE, nice, nice, nice.

See the difference?

Femininity and niceness are all good and well, but if a woman has no sparks or backbone in her personality, she's toast. Worse yet, she's lucky if she'll ever get married. In a way, this is the advice given to Victorian women that mirrors what men today have dealt with in blue pill mentality.

A man should be alpha with a woman in the beginning, but if he doesn't go beta in showing affection, he isn't feeling it. Connie wasted a lot of time.

I also agree with not sticking around to commiserate with a man. Hard sometimes with social circles.

Spacetraveller said...

@ NC,

If I knew what your question meant, I would answer it.
But as things currently stand, I haven't a clue.
Could you please shine a light on my obscurity?

Spacetraveller said...

@ JV,

Wow, you know what NC's complaint is?
If so, 'chapeau', as we say in french (hat tip). I am still scratching my head as to what his specific issue is :-)

Might I say, I think this is a bg difference between you and me. And why I love your comments.
I can see I have a long way to go before becoming a Woman, even though I am a woman by virtue of everything that needs to be there, being there ;)
But at times perhaps I can be as thick as two planks. Unless NC comes back and explains in detail what he meant, I won't get it. I am missing a communication chip somewhere...
I remember one of Denzel Washington's films (I think it was 'John Q') in which he kept saying over and over again: 'explain it to me like I am a 6-year old' whenever someone said something to him. I am like that sometimes...

Connie's situation is one of the reasons I love this film so much...and why I chose to go back to it having already reviewed it.
This is the reason 'nice girls' finish last. But I can see that it doesn't have to be so!
The problem is, a girl like Connie, seeing that she is getting nowhere with her 'niceness' might conclude that 'all men want b*tches' and may well copy her b*tchy friends who seem to be getting the guys. I understand this reaction, of course I do. But I can see how that leads to a whole different set of problems...not least a kind of cognitive dissonance with her.

Charles just wasn't feeling it for her. And she knew it. She even told Elisabeth that she couldn't pretend that Charles loved her as much as he loved his wife, her sister...

I learned an awful lot from this film. I know that Danny's primary interest was in the Game principles that Elisabeth used to 'Game' Louisa, (and those are interesting enough, I have to say!)but for me, now, I am more interested in the interactions between the adults...For sure, one day when I am looking for parenting skills, I shall be back to watch the Gaming of Louisa...

just visiting said...

@ ST

The problem is, a girl like Connie, seeing that she is getting nowhere with her 'niceness' might conclude that 'all men want b*tches' and may well copy her b*tchy friends who seem to be getting the guys.

And this is very much the problem in todays smp/mmp.

I think that a woman can maintain femininity, sparks, and back bone. It doesn't have to be an either/or situation. I think that in many cases, women have gone too far in one direction or the other.

Though, I also maintain that guys can be nice most of the time and still maintain alpha. (Which gets me into trouble in the sphere) It doesn't have to be either/or.

It's a ballancing act, for women and men.

Bellita said...

The Denzel Washington movie you are thinking of is Philadelphia. He played a lawyer who used that line to ask his witnesses to explain technical things as simply as possible. :)

This post is actually very timely for me, but I don't have the time to say so right now. I'll be back!

just visiting said...

To keep things on topic, rejecting a man should be done with as much class and as complimentary as possible. BUT, if there has been a relationship, hanging around to be his friend is sending mixed messages. It's cruel, even if it's meant to be kind.

Anonymous said...

If I knew or understood anything from your post on this, I'd be glad to specify.

Men do not do this. We analyze, we examine, we do lots of things, but we don't rip a failed relationship to shreds, to see where it failed. We simply assume it's our fault and we walk away.

Yes, some men assume it's the female at fault. Whatever gets them through the night...

Sorry, this post is clearly females only. I was lost from:

"I have harped on enough in the past that it is entirely expected that a woman rejects several men before she picks one (for life hopefully)."

I'll not ask "really?" since this would be off-topic, but I hope you revisit that again, while I look back through the past month of posts hoping to find something about women being expected to reject some men before marrying... cuz I sure don't recall it.

Carry on.

The Navy Corpsman

Grasshopper said...

As a guy it never mattered to me the reason why a woman rejected me. No is no - who cares why. Yet some gals went to great lengths to provide explanations. I wish they hadn’t.

Even more important than what you say to him is what you say about him behind his back after the rejection. Don’t poison the waters for him with other women in the social group by talking him down with them.

From what I have seen that has to be the hardest thing for some women to do. Their worst nightmare scenario apparently is one where a good man she rejects subsequently winds up doing the happily ever after thing with a rival woman in her social group.

They will throw that guy under the bus to prevent this from occurring. I’ve seen it happen.

In short then when rejecting someone just remember 3 simple words – don’t be evil.


Spacetraveller said...

@ Bellita,

Thanks! I don't know why I thought it was 'John Q'...


Wow, you were right about NC's gripe! Chapeau again. I'm impressed. Just one word, and you knew what he was on about...

NC and Grasshopper,

Is it really true that men in general don't think too much about rejection?
I find this hard to believe!
Sure, you probably wouldn't obsess over it like a woman would, but surely men have their own way of dealing with rejection?
Especially, as (traditionally and historicaly, at least), you have been the gender to deal with this more, because you are the ones who approach women. Now it's 'even Stevens', sure, but you still get an awful lot of rejections as men.

I got a question: I know that men like to be alone when they brood over a rejection, but in general, would you say they dealt with rejections in a less healthy way (mentally) than women? Sure, a woman is more likely to binge-eat and cry a lot..but at least she usually surrounds herself with others...a man might do drinks and drugs, and there's no-one to 'supervise' him in case of attempted suicide, overdose etc...


"Yet some gals went to great lengths to provide explanations. I wish they hadn’t."
This is an example of the commiseration thing that women do. It's not our fault, Grasshopper! I think it is usually a gesture of goodwill. But you have confirmed what I suspected - that men don't like this.
And in many ways, it is perhaps an example of 'projection' too, inasmuchas women like to dissect out details of a breakup to understand the ins and outs of it, and so women expect men to want this 'closure' too, hence they offer it, even when it is unsolicited. It's one of those things that you would never guess correctly about. You always have to learn this from experience - yours or someone else's :-)

I touch on women rejecting men in the posts 'Friendly or fresh, fascinating or forward' and 'Fools rush in'.
I see you are beating a hasty retreat from the door of the ladies' locker room!
Wise man :-)

Anonymous said...

I am quite sure there are lots of men who beat that particular dead horse quite badly. After all, a lot of MGTOW took that pill because of the horrors of divorce court. But, I don't see that type of man as being overly obsessed with the 'why' as much as the 'why so damned vindictive and hateful'.

On one hand, I don't see any reason for a married couple to stay married, if one of them is unhappy. On the other hand, I would not give the time of day to someone who divorced for 'emotional unfulfillment', whether male or female. Boredom is not an excuse for divorce, in my book.

I do not think the majority of men spend a lot of time thinking about why their girlfriend/wife/significant other dumped them. After the first dumping, men learn that nothing they say or do will change the mind of their ex. Why ask why?

Deal with rejection? Accept it, move on with my life. Outcome independence. Hey, if you and I were dating, and somehow you determined that I was just not the "One" you wanted to marry and you let me know (in any fashion) I would be upset, sure. I would probably spend ten, maybe fifteen minutes wondering what the real reason was, then I'd get hungry and fix myself something to eat. And that would be the end of that.

Grasshopper points out that explanations can also be more painful than the actual dumping. True enough, yet it still comes under the heading of overanalyzing. I'm well aware this is how women think, and I accept it as fact. It's not how I think, probably not how Danny, or Dogsquat or Grasshopper thinks. I hope you can accept that. If I get a laundry list of reasons why I am not suitable, from you when you dump me, please believe that I am going to think you're picayune and possibly OCD, and will shorten that time where I analyze the relationship post-breakup to 30 seconds, max.

Whether from the Creator, or evolution, men have been designed to be independent. We're absolutely good with being happy with the company we keep when we're the only ones in the room. This may sound like a declaration of independence from women, but it isn't. We're also very good at keeping company with women. Given a choice, many many men would be happy to set up housekeeping with a suitable woman. Since I've been married for over 20 years, I have to say that I'd be in serious difficulty if I had to go back to cooking for myself, but that's a minor problem in the whole issue.

You see, there are three truths in any breakup, Spacetraveler. There is his truth, her truth and the real truth. Sometimes they're pretty close to each other, and sometimes they're really far apart. Yet one fact, one logical statement remains at the end of relationship:

Not a damned thing I can do about it.

I MAY be able to actually figure out what happened, and apply to future relationships so as to prevent a recurrence, but isn't it easier to accept reality and go on with your life? Not for you, certainly... and that's just fine for you.

But even more germane is that I won't spend any time at all, analyzing someone elses' breakup, and sure as hell not a fictional character in a movie.

The Navy Corpsman

Spacetraveller said...

@ NC,

"But even more germane is that I won't spend any time at all, analyzing someone elses' breakup, and sure as hell not a fictional character in a movie."

Overanalysing is my thing, NC.
Over at Bellita's, her latest post also analyses the break-up of a celebrity couple.

Question for you, NC: which is worse for you, a celebrity couple or fictional characters?
Just teasing...

You make great points. Thanks especially for presenting a man's point of view.
In many ways I am jealous. If only I could be less analytical, I'd have more time for other things to occupy my mind with ;)

Grasshopper said...

ST it is not a surprise to me that you find it hard to believe men do not dwell all that much on rejection.

Women seem to view a man brooding over her rejection as a validation of sorts. It’s so … well … un-validating of us to not brood. How dare we.

There is also an undercurrent of narcissism to women’s thinking here. Any man she denies the wonderfulness of her company to will of course naturally turn to drinking, drugs and be a major suicide risk apparently.

Fact is the man likely did not ever see the woman rejecting him as super wonderful but just the best he could do at the time.

Fact is he likely has other girlfriend possibilities he is in one stage of pursuing or another and you may have made things easier for him by taking yourself out of contention.


Anonymous said...

Spacetraveller said...

"Question for you, NC: which is worse for you, a celebrity couple or fictional characters?
Just teasing..."

Actually, a good question, given that it's slightly off topic.

Generally, if an author is good at character development, the reader becomes involved in the characters of the book, or the characters of a play/movie. With the understanding that a good actor/actress can really bring a dull character to life, to reality as it were, I'd have to say a fictional character has a better chance of engaging my interest. Celebrity couples are engaging in something I call 'attention whore complex', where they WANT their private lives aired on national or international television.

"No publicity is bad publicity."

Tell that to the Pope.

Look at 'reality shows' which are so far from reality that people actually watch them to escape from their own. My eldest son told me I should try out for something called 'Survivor' whereupon he made me watch an episode. I nearly gouged out my eyes, but more importantly, I told him I'd not last ten minutes in such a situation before I'd rabbit-punch the host. Smarmy shitheads do not sit well with me, especially ones that look like a Ken doll.

I watch TV, and I FEEL my IQ lowering, dynamically. Movies, well, there I get to pick the good ones, and every once in a while I sit through a chick flick to make my wife happy. I have to duct tape my mouth shut, however, because something goofy would happen and I'd point it out, earning me scorn. Hey, not my fault when some guy shoots a woman and the pistol fires AFTER he raises his hand in simulation of recoil!

Wow... somehow I wandered so far off topic I'm not sure we'll ever get back. I wonder why I wandered....

The Navy Corpsman

Anonymous said...


Go read this, and understand this happens to nearly EVERY man, once. And only once. Twice, and the guy usually loses his mind.

Courtesy of former USMC Sgt Dogsquat:

I have to say, something like this did happen to me, when I was 14 years old. However, I learn from my lessons.

The Navy Corpsman

just visiting said...

@ ST

I can see I have a long way to go before becoming a Woman, even though I am a woman by virtue of everything that needs to be there, being there ;)

Not at all. You are very insightful, and a charming hostess as well. Elegant yet mischeivious.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Grasshopper,

Yes, if I am to be completely fair on this, it does seem rather narcissistic of women to expect men to crumble under their rejection of them.
On BeijaFlor's blog, he describes a woman who seemed blissfully happy when an ex-boyfriend of hers committed suicide because of her rejection. I remember feeling rather sick as I read it. I think Bellita also made a similar remark as to how awful this woman was.
In contrast, I was watching an interview with musician Gregg Allman last week where the interviewer made mention of the fact that Gregg Allman had, wait for it, not one but two ex-girlfriends commit suicide when he broke up with them. He was suitably humble and remorseful about that.
Now I am not suggesting that all women are like BeijaFlor's friend, or that all men are like Gregg Allman. Not at all!

It might be just possible that you misinterpreted my question somewhat. My question was not so much about the possiblity that women expect men to be suicidal. It is more that we hear this all the time from men themselves - case in point, the post from Dogsquat that NC links to above, and from the media in general - eg. reports that when Michelle threatened to divorce Barack, he was severely depressed and suicidal.
Also, I was alluding to two other points.
1. Concern that she has hurt him (yes there is such a thing as a compassionate woman lol!), hence my reference to the worry that he is alone, as opposed to in the company of other people who could help out if things got scary.
2. Lack of understanding that a man could really get over his hurt rather quickly, because all women know that as women, we really feel the pain of rejection (and we tell the whole world about it!) so we find it unbelievable that a man could just walk away unscathed. That's why I mention 'projection'. Especially in light of what we hear about as above also.

But I think I didn't make my self clear enough: rejection where there has not been a relationship is of course very different from rejection where there has been a long and perhaps loving relationship. I made no distinction betwee the two when I asked my question.

@ NC,

"I watch TV, and I FEEL my IQ lowering, dynamically."

Same here! But unlike you, I like it. Um, is this bad?

"Wow... somehow I wandered so far off topic I'm not sure we'll ever get back. I wonder why I wandered...."

Wander away, NC, wander away. It's all part of the fun of ideas expression :-)

Thanks for linking Dogsquat's post. Like I say to Grasshopper above, this is the kind of intel I have on men's reaction to rejection. Women of course feel this pain too, but express it differently. For example, I don't know many women who would punch a drunk guy to pulp because of their pain of rejection lol, but perhaps for women the hurt is directed more at themselves rather than others..I dunno.

@ JV,

That's lovely to hear, especially coming from someone I respect so much :-)

I aim to continue gaining 'womanly wisdom' from women like you.

Anonymous said...

Spacetraveller said...

""I watch TV, and I FEEL my IQ lowering, dynamically."

Same here! But unlike you, I like it. Um, is this bad?

Depends on whether you can afford to lose any points. I'm on the low side of normality, (at least I like to think so) so I tend to conserve all my strength for intellectual challenges, such as "Where's Waldo?".

It's funny that you mention the difference between a breakup of a long term relationship, and one that has not been going for years, perhaps not even months. My wife told me, before we wed, that if I ever found someone else, she would not 'go crazy' or anything like it. She figured that we both loved each other, and if one of us fell out of love, the other should just accept it and move on. It's a logical thing, and I warned her that we both should not ignore emotions, at our personal peril. She agreed, but we both decided that this would be the best way to handle an unforeseen situation. Life isn't fair, and neither of us expected anything different.

It all sounds so civilized, yet I've done my share of wondering, all humans (except perhaps celebrities) have their moments of self-doubt. I recall a guy I knew in college who boasted to me that he told his girlfriend that he will kill her and her lover if she ever cheated on him. A few years later, he was commenting on one of those 'family annihilator' killings, where a man killed his wife, children and the wife's lover; he was disgusted with the killer. I agreed, then reminded him that he said he would do pretty much the same thing.

Lesson #445 in life wisdom: Never remind a friend they've had moments of insanity, unless you don't want them as a friend anymore.

The Navy Corpsman

Spacetraveller said...

@ NC,

"It's funny that you mention the difference between a breakup of a long term relationship, and one that has not been going for years, perhaps not even months."

Well, it's got to be harder once one's emotions are invested...

"Depends on whether you can afford to lose any points. I'm on the low side of normality, (at least I like to think so) so I tend to conserve all my strength for intellectual challenges, such as "Where's Waldo?"."

Hahaha! Toofunny!

NC, I can't afford to lose any points either, but maybe that's precisely why I am not bothered...
He that is down need fear no fall...

Bellita said...

In my first comment, I said that this topic hit home for me, but I didn't say why . . .

It was because I was planning on ending a courtship that I knew would never amount to anything. I had let it drag on for some time, hoping he would get my hints . . . but I knew I had to be better than that and be direct with him. And since every man who has said anything about the subject gave some variation of, "I'd rather be shot in the head once and die instantly than shot in the chest five times and bleed to death slowly," I grabbed my gun and took careful aim.

And I felt very bad about it . . . but also very relieved.

Only to be told that I had been imagining his interest in me and that he really only wanted to be friends!

Which put me in my delusional place, I guess. :(

Two people (one of whom knows the whole story and another who just overheard the latest report) said that he might have just said that to save face. Ah, well . . . I guess I'll never know.

But the point is that it's over now, which is good for both of us, even if it still smarts very much.

Spacetraveller said...


I am pleased for you that you are sure it was the right thing for you to do, i.e. to end something that was not right for you.
I however have this automatic knee-jerk reaction to say 'I am sorry' whenever I hear of a split of any kind, even when the people involved say to me 'it was for the best!'

I like how you use the word 'courtship' here.
You old-fashioned girl, you ;)

(Incidentally even though I am pulling your leg about the use of this word, I have recently learned that there is indeed a very big difference between this word and 'dating' even if they seem interchangeable. So thank you for using the more correct word).

"And since every man who has said anything about the subject gave some variation of, "I'd rather be shot in the head once and die instantly than shot in the chest five times and bleed to death slowly," I grabbed my gun and took careful aim."

I am sure you didn't mean to be funny here but I couldn't help a chuckle at the thought of you taking aim with a gun. Somehow it doesn't quite work, this image in my head of you! Au contraire, it is rather comical as I cannot reconcile you with the image...In any case,Danny's avatar keeps popping up lol.

You know, counterintuitive as it may be, I now see that your male friends are right. I guess there is a 'manly way' and there is a 'womanly way' of taking rejection.
And I think both sexes generally get it wrong in that men dish out rejection 'like a bullet' in the same manner they would reject another man (if you see what I mean) and women feel bad and want to 'mollycoddle' a man they are rejecting, in the manner they would treat another woman. Sure, there are notable exceptions...

Yes I also think he said what he did to save face. But that is his right, I guess.
And perhaps allowing him to save face helps you feel better about the whole thing?

Again I am sorry that you had this 'setback' in your journey to your goal :-(

Bellita said...

Actually, ST, I think that his denial of his intentions was a little cowardly on his part. I understand that he might have felt embarrassed, but this reaction was a way to transfer the blame on me, as if I had deliberately embarrassed an innocent man . . . which I tried very hard not to do and which he was not. It's not fun to be cast as the one in the wrong when you tried to do the right thing.

Of course, this only applies if he was said what he said to save face. If it was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth that he had no romantic interest in me, then I was certainly put in my place for thinking I was more desirable than I am. :P

Spacetraveller said...


You bring up a very important point:

"Actually, ST, I think that his denial of his intentions was a little cowardly on his part. I understand that he might have felt embarrassed, but this reaction was a way to transfer the blame on me,..."

Yes, the point of 'saving face' is not to be 'honourable' yourself but to diminish your own pain at the expense of the other person.

It's not a nice thing to do, but pride and hurt dictate that we do it, at a time when we are most vulnerable.

So the rejector is made to look 'worse' than they really are because they are the ones to pull the plug.
Yes, it's another csae of 'pain all round'.
I agree the whole thing is fun for no-one...

I truly sympathise because I can see both sides opposed to other situations/contexts where I can only see one side.